PROMISE CITY, Iowa -- As rumors swirled throughout Appanoose County in late November that Ethan Davis, from Promise City, may have been behind the disappearance and death of Cedar Falls' Curtis Ross, Sally Donald, Ethan's neighbor and third grade teacher had her reservations.
"I didn't believe it. I said, not until I hear something a lot more than what I heard which was gossip," said Donald.
Wednesday, the Appanoose County Sheriff's Office and Department of Criminal Investigation revealed that a search warrant at Davis' home in Promise City yielded a vehicle belonging to Ethan with his fingerprints and blood inside the vehicle. They also found a rifle with his prints and traces of blood.
"I think everybody was really surprised and didn't think this could have happened," said Donald.
That's not what originally put Davis behind bars, that came from an alleged pistol-whipping November 24th of a man in nearby Seymour the day before Ross went missing. Wayne County authorities say he also fired the weapon inside the home while holding his own infant child.
"This is way out of character I would say from what I knew of him in my time," Donald said.
In her time, Sally watched Ethan grow over the years in the classroom as his teacher. "He was a good student and I had no trouble in the classroom ever," she said. The two bonded over their love for dogs. "Being across the road he liked dogs and I liked dogs. We had nine of them between the two of us and he was really good about taking care of them."
Now authorities believe that same man who treated his teachers with respect, dogs with respect, is responsible for the shooting, stabbing and killing of an innocent man. Donald said, "It just is not something I can believe in. It's a completely different person than what I knew."
Law enforcement is encouraging hunters in Appanoose County to report anything that seems out of place while in the fields. Do not touch the items and to contact law enforcement to come and look at those items.